Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses Final Rule in Effect Today, May 26, 2015

From USCIS, 05/26/2015
Certain H-4 dependent spouses may now apply for employment authorization under the H-4 rule. On February 24, 2015, USCIS announced that effective today, May 26, 2015, the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) would begin accepting applications for employment authorization from certain H-4 dependent spouses of H-1B nonimmigrants who are seeking employment-based lawful permanent resident status.
Starting today, you may apply for employment authorization under this rule if your H-1B nonimmigrant spouse:
  • Is the principal beneficiary of an approved Form I-140, Immigrant Petition for Alien Worker; or
  • Has been granted H-1B status under sections 106(a) and (b) of the American Competitiveness in the Twenty-first Century Act of 2000 as amended by the 21st Century Department of Justice Appropriations Authorization Act (AC21). AC21 permits H-1B nonimmigrants seeking lawful permanent residence to work and remain in the United States beyond the six-year limit on their H-1B status.
For more information on applying for employment authorization under the H-4 rule, please visit the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses Web page and the list of Frequently Asked Questions that USCIS has compiled since they announced the H-4 rule in February.

Friday, May 22, 2015

USCIS Temporarily Suspends Premium Processing for Extension of Stay H-1B Petitions

From USCIS, 05/22/2015

Please note: This is an update to the alert that we issued on Tuesday, May 19 with the same headline. That alert can be found in the USCIS Archive.

Starting May 26, 2015, USCIS will temporarily suspend premium processing for all H-1B extension of stay petitions until July 27, 2015. During this time frame, petitioners will not be able to file Form I-907, Request for Premium Processing Service, for a Form I-129, Petition for a Nonimmigrant Worker, requesting an extension of the stay for an H-1B nonimmigrant.

USCIS will continue to premium process H-1B extension of stay petitions filed with Form I-907 premium requests prior to May 26, 2015.

USCIS will refund the premium processing fee if:
  • A petitioner filed H-1B petitions prior to May 26, 2015, using the premium processing service, and
  • USCIS did not act on the case within the 15-calendar-day period.
Premium Processing Remains Available for Certain H-1B Petitions
Premium processing remains available for:
  • Form I-129 H-1B petitions subject to the H-1B cap and cap exempt petitions, as long as the petition is requesting:
    • A change of nonimmigrant status, or
    • Consular notification;
  • Form I-129 H-1B petitions filed on behalf of individuals who already have H-1B nonimmigrant status, as long as the petition is requesting:
    • Consular notification, or
    • An amendment of a previously approved petition that does not include a request for an extension of stay; and
  • All Form I-129 H-1B1 petitions.
Why We Are Suspending Premium Processing
This temporary suspension will allow USCIS to implement the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Spouses final rule in a timely manner and adjudicate applications for employment authorization filed by H-4 nonimmigrants under the new regulations. We anticipate receiving an extremely high volume of Form I-765 applications once the H-4 final rule becomes effective on May 26, 2015, and need to temporarily suspend premium processing to ensure that we can provide good customer service to both H-1B petitioners and H-4 applicants.
We will monitor our workloads closely and may resume accepting premium processing requests before July 27, 2015, if we determine that we can once again provide customers with the level of service offered with premium processing.

Expedited Processing
Petitioners may request expedited processing for their H-1B extension of stay petition during the temporary suspension of premium processing. We will review all expedite requests on a case-by-case basis and grant the requests at the discretion of the Director. The burden is on the petitioner to demonstrate that one or more of the expedite criteria have been met.
For further information on how to request expedited processing, please see our Expedite Criteria webpage.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

USCIS Publishes Filing Guidance for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses

USCIS has published information to help eligible H-4 dependent spouses who want to apply for employment authorization under the Employment Authorization for Certain H-4 Dependent Spouses final rule.
You can view the information on:

Please note that you may not apply for employment authorization under this rule until May 26, 2015. Until the H-4 rule takes effect on May 26, 2015, USCIS will not accept any Form I-765, Application for Employment Authorization requesting employment authorization based on your H-4 status. If you submit a Form I-765 before May 26, 2015 USCIS will reject your application and return it and the filing fee to you. You would then need to re-submit the application on or after May 26, 2015.